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07.07.2005 General News

Government committed to improving Afram Plains

GNA

Accra, July 7, GNA - Mr Sampson Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, on Thursday said the NPP government, since assuming office, has made giant strides in Afram Plains by constructing and rehabilitating some important roads in the area.

He said in recognition of the vast potential of Afram Plains, some roads, including those of Ejura-Dome-Oku-Blackee and the Nsuta-Birem, all in the area, have been under construction, with about 90 per cent of the Dome-Oku-Blackee section of the projects nearly completed through a contract sum of 2. 4 billion cedis (2,430,008,877.34).

The Minister told Parliament that the NPP manifesto has described the Afram Plains as "the food basket of the country" due to the vast and rich agricultural land suitable for the cultivation of grain and other crops.

Mr Boafo was answering a question on what plans the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council has to open up the Ashanti Region portion of the Afram Plains.

On agricultural development in the area, he said the Afram Plains has been "zoned as a land bank" and the Regional Agricultural Directorate was assisting interested local and foreign investors to meet landowners for the acquisition of land through appropriate stools.

On education, he said, in order to train and retain qualified teachers in schools in the area, the Afram Plains Education Project was set up, adding that other programmes such as the provision of dual desks for pupils and support for needy children have been established to improve teaching and learning.

Mr. Samuel Owusu-Adjei, Deputy Minister of Health, who was also in the house to answer questions, said the health sector was facing a critical problem of shortage of staff and it would therefore be unable to post a permanent medical doctor to Asesewa in the Eastern Region to man the district hospital there.

The Deputy Minister was responding to a question on when the district hospital in Asewase would have a permanent medical officer.

The Deputy Minister said currently a medical officer was able to visit the district hospital twice a week to render services due to the brain drain situation facing the sector and until the situation improved things would remain the same.

In answer to another question, Mr Owusu-Agyei said a proposal to establish a health centre at Dadieso in the West Region was presented in the region's 2005 budget but this was not approved for funding at the national level.

He was responding to a question on when Dadieso in the Suaman constituency would be provided with a hospital to cater for the needs of the growing population in the area.

The Deputy Minister said the proposal was now going to be "considered under the 2006 Capital budget and hopefully, work on the health centre project would commence next year if provision is finally made."

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